Keep heads in the game

More should be done to reduce concussions among athletes

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While watching Monday night’s college football title matchup between Alabama and Notre Dame, you might have wondered how many players had their heads in the game.

But not enough of us share a genuine concern for those players’ heads while they’re in the game.

Football is fun to watch but extremely physically risky to play. One big injury can end a career. But several injuries over a long period – particularly brain injuries – can take a toll on an athlete that’s much more grave.

Studies are mounting: Concussions in college football are becoming more common, and so are their lingering negative health effects, such as depression, memory loss and, over time, a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

A study in the journal Neurology collected data about head injuries from college athletes, then gave them cognitive tests after their seasons ended. The finding: The more blows to the head, the worse the athletes performed on tests. When student-athletes become worse students by being more physical athletes, that’s a huge problem.

How can athletes be better protected from brain injuries? In football, no cutting-edge helmet design is going to completely protect players from bone-jarring, brain-shaking damage.

Reducing the number of full-contact practices would be an excellent start. So would capping the number of head hits a player can take each season.

Failing now to protect young athletes puts their futures in peril.

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myfather15 01/09/13 - 07:37 am
Make any hit above the chest

Make any hit above the chest illegal. Any violation would result in an automatic 5 game suspension and massive fine. The players like James Harrison who are constantly violating the rules, would eventually get the point. They would adjust the way they play the game, or move on to another career, which most of these guys couldn't do. The only reason most of these guys passed college was the "Good ol boy system". They are super star athletes, so they are passed; End of story!!

Yes, this would alter the way the game is played but is it worth it? It would still be a game worth watching for sure. The game would then lean towards the offensive side, with more points being scored. But all the defensive players would have to do is learn to to be better wrap tacklers, which is how it's supposed to be done. Wrap them up around the waist/legs. In order to PROTECT the players, we would have to put a stop to all the MASSIVE hits, trying to knock the ball loose from WR's, TE's or RB's hands. Who cares, either let them catch it and tackle them, or knock the ball out with YOUR HANDS. But trying to take a players HEAD OFF so they don't catch the ball is ridiculous.

Riverman1 01/09/13 - 09:40 am
So who protects the defense?

So who protects the defense? A running back lowers his head and tries to knock over tacklers by head to head contact. Downfield blocking can legally be head to head contact. You start protecing defensive players, too, and I'll think you're serious.

It's just a violent sport, kind of like boxing, but it has so many rewards for players. High school players never forget the experience. It is a life changing challenge when the players are coming of age. Football, football, it, eat it, sleep it....that's where it's at.

YeCats 01/09/13 - 10:44 am
There is a technical side to

There is a technical side to blocking and tackling in football. In order to bring it back, they must change the equipment. Bring back the leather skin helmets, no face mask, along with the shoulderpads like the WRs wear, (extra small).

Its a fast game, thats all about hit, hit, hit. Players turn their bodies into missiles. And carnage ensues.

Out of the bowl games, the best and most important hit was made by Clowney against that Mich. RB. And he could have done the same wearing 30s style equipment, with the same results. It was technically superb.

KasparHauser 01/11/13 - 01:38 pm
Simple Solution

Make them all professionals, pay them a salary, give them benefits, and then give them an opportunity to get an education when their eligibility runs out.

No more of this hand-wringing, sanctimonious drivel about protecting students from a degree of violence that would send them all to jail if not perpetrated on "the field of play", and that's even considering the irrelevant "but, they're all wearing protection" red herring...

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